Sonia Rykiel Dead At 86: French Fashion Designer Had Been Suffering From Parkinson's For 19 Years

The 'Queen of Knitwear' tried to hide Parkinson's symptoms for many years.

French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel has died at the age of 86, after suffering from Parkinson’s disease for 19 years.

Rykiel’s daughter and managing artistic director of her eponymous fashion label, Nathalie made an official statement confirming the news on Thursday 25 August.

“My mother died at 05:00 this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s,” she said.


Rykiel first announced her diagnosis in her 2012 book ‘N’oubliez Pas Que Je Joue’ (Don’t Forget It’s A Game), where she revealed she had tried hide her symptoms for years.

“I don’t want to show my pain,” she wrote, also admitting that she had used a cane for years but colleagues had stopped her being photographed with it.


Born in Paris on 25 May 1930, Rykiel opened her first clothing shop on Paris’ Left Bank in 1968 - which became a hit with fashion icons Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Audrey Hepburn.

In 2009, she was awarded The Order of Légion d’Honneur in recognition of her 40 years of service in the French fashion industry and is often referred to as the ‘Queen of Knitwear’.

March 1984

Sonia Rykiel